Bruno Belotti has won the Italian chess championship three times (1989, 1996 and 2001) and shared first place twice more in the same competition. He is an international master and has grown up in a quiet place near the little town of Bergamo, in the Northern Italy (where I live). Bruno has been a professional player untill 2004; after this year he has almost quit chess and he plays very seldom now. When I was just a teenager and I couldn’t understand the difference beetwen a candidate master and a GM (I mean that players of both categories looked to me as extraterrestrials), I loved playing chess a lot and my favourite tourney was the “Festival Conca della Presolana”, which takes place every August in Castione della Presolana, not too far from Bergamo. This is now one of the best organized and strongest tournaments in Italy; it was a more “private” competition at that time, one of the fewest (perhaps the only) where chess lovers living in Bergamo could watch good games beetwen strong players.
In 1990 Belotti shared first place in Castione thanks to a brilliant win against serbian IM Dusan Indjic in the last round. I’ve never forgot his Queen sacrifice for two minor pieces and even now that I am an “extraterrestrial” master (I can understand the difference between a CM and a GM at least) I find it really brilliant, perhaps the most combinative game played by an Italian in the '90s. I report the game as well as some comments based on those of Bruno himself: his full analyses were published in the October issue of Italian magazine “Scacco” (“Check”), which stopped being published some years ago (but you can find “Torre & Cavallo-Scacco” in almost every kiosk now).
In early '90s chess programs were not as powerful as today and strong players mainly used their own brain to analyse games, so you will forgive possible inaccuracies… You can download the fully commented game (in Italian), as published on "Scacco", by clicking here.
Indjic,D – Belotti,B [E92], Castione della Presolana 08.1990
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Na6 10. Nd2 Qe8 11. a3 Bd7 12. b3 Nh7 13. f3 f5
Interesting is 13... h5 14. Rb1 Bh6 15. Bf2 Qe7 16. b4 axb4 17. axb4 h4 with counterplay for Black.
14. Bf2 h5 15. Rb1 Bh6 16. b4 axb4 17. axb4 Qe7 18. c5!?
After 18. Rb2 h4 19. O-O Qg5 20. Kh1 Nf6 21. Qe1 h3 22. g3 White got a slight edge in Huss-Mortensen, 1982.
Better than 18... h4 19. c6 Bc8 20. b5 Nc5 21. b6 and White has a strong initiative.
19. Bxa6 cxb4 20. Bc4
The alternative 20. d6!? Bxd2+ 21. Qxd2 bxc3 22. Qd5+ Qf7 23. Bxb7! Ra4! 24. dxc7 fxe4 25. Qxf7+ Kxf7 26. fxe4 Nf6 27. O-O Kg7 would have led to a draw after 28. Bc5 Re8 29. Bd6 Rd4 (29... Nxe4 30. Bxe4 Rxe4 31. Rb8 with good compensation for the pawn) 30. Bc5 Rc4 31. Bd6 Rd4 =
20... bxc3! 21. d6+ Be6 22. dxe7 Bxd2+! 23. Kf1?
Much better was 23. Qxd2 cxd2+ 24. Kxd2 Rf6 25. Bb5 Bd7 (after 25... c6 26. Bd3 b5 27. Bc5 White has a very good compensation) 26. Bc4+ Be6 27. Bb5 Bd7 =
23... Bxc4+ 24. Kg1 Rfe8 25. exf5 gxf5 26. h4 Rxe7 27. Rb4!
Much worse 27. Be1 Ra2! 28. Bxd2 Rxd2! 29. Qe1 Rg7! 30. Rh2 c2 31. Rc1 Rgd7! 32. Qg3+ Kf7 -+
And not 27... Bd3? 28. Kh2 e4 29. Qb3+! Rf7 30. Rxb7 with an unclear position.
Interesting was 28. Ra4!? Rxa4 29. Qxa4 e4 30. Bc5 Re6 31. Kf2 e3+ 32. Ke2, but Black is better in any case.
Or 28... Ra2!? 29. Be3 Nf6 30. Bg5 Kf7 and Black is better
The last mistake. White must play 29. Ra4, even if 29… Rxa4 30. Qxa4 e4 31. Bd4 Kf7 is clearly better for Black.
29... Ra2 30. Be3 c5! 31. Rc4!?
White has no defence: 31. Bxc5 Bf4+ 32. Rxf4 Rxe2 33. Bxe7 exf4 34. Bxf6 Bxf3 35. Rg1 c2 -+
31... b5! 32. Rxc5 Bxe3 33. Rc8+ Kf7 34. Qxb5 Bxf3 35. Rxc3 Ng4+ 36. Kh3
A more picturesque mate was 36. Kg3 f4+ 37. Kxf3 e4#]
36... Bxg2+ 37. Kg3 f4# 0-1